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Kokoda - Shane Bourne, William McInnes, Jack Finsterer, Alister Grierson

Threat advisory: Guarded - General risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Mates became heroes. The track became legend.

New Guinea, 1942.

Australia is at war with Japan.

A fearsome force of elite Japanese fighters, heavily armed and battle-hardened, land on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea. Their intention: an attack on Port Moresby and ultimately, an invasion of Australia.

A small platoon of Australian soldiers from the 39th Battalion, ill-equipped and poorly trained, set forward outside Isurava to face the enemy line.

After sustained attack from the Japanese, the Australians are cut off from their supply lines. Isolated in the jungle, they make their way back through the most perilous terrain on earth... the Kokoda track.

After three days with no food or sleep, carrying their wounded, and suffering the effects of dysentery and malaria, the men emerge from the jungle - their bodies consumed with exhaustion. But on learning that Isurava is about to fall they pick themselves up and rejoin the battle...

Outnumbered 10 to 1.

Somehow, they find a way to beat the odds and defend our nation.

But not without paying an enormous price.

Kokoda.

Mates became heroes. The Track became legend.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Kokoda image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film World War II Australia Kokoda track trail Japan shoot violence invasion fuzzy battle mate Papua New Guinea PNG

Persons of interest

  • Shane Bourne .... The Doctor
  • Jack Finsterer .... Jack Scholt
  • Angus Sampson .... Dan
  • Simon Stone .... Max Scholt
  • Luke Ford .... Burke
  • Travis McMahon .... Darko Moey
  • Tom Budge .... Johnno
  • Christopher Baker .... Bluey
  • Steve Le Marquand .... Uncle Sam
  • William McInnes .... The Colonel
  • Ewen Leslie .... Wilstead
  • Ben Barrack .... Pike
  • Josh Meggs .... Injured Soldier
  • John Lonie .... Screenwriter
  • Alister Grierson .... Screenwriter
  • Alister Grierson .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

The strangest thing about Kokoda is that it has almost neither beginning nor end. There's a short voice-over at the start (with a helpful map) and a few words before the closing credits but nothing on-screen to introduce any of the characters, countries or situations. You are dumped into the middle of the war with little idea of who's fighting it, let alone why. Perhaps it's a cinematic device to give you the same sense of fubar that struck the "Chocko Soldiers" (soft, sweet and melts away when heat is applied) who found themselves fighting battle-hardened Japanese with almost no preparation, training or supplies. If so, it's a powerful tool because you spend half the film thinking "What the...? What the...? What the...?".

Meanwhile, the sudden cessation of battle leaves you with the sound of gunshots ringing in your ears. The abrupt release from a life-and-death struggle where your mates are dying all around you must have been almost as shocking as the combat itself. It's like tripping over the step that isn't there.

To make things worse, this is jungle warfare. You shoot anything that moves because by the time you know who it is you're dead. Every tree, every bush, every log, every dip in the landscape is a potential hideaway for one of the murderous yellow bastards.; the constant psychological pressure cooked many a goose.

However, Kokoda is no great shakes a a war film (it can't hold a candle to Saving Private Ryan) but it makes a great quasi-documentary.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen
  • Special features:
    • Commentaries: Director Alister Grierson and director of photography Jules O'Loughlin
    • Deleted scenes
    • Featurettes:
      • Australian Teachers of Media study guide
      • Behind the scenes
      • Bomb, the 2005 Tropfest-winning short film by Alister Grierson
      • All-new documentary material on the actual Kokoda campaign
    • Galleries: Photographic
    • Trailers: Theatrical

Security censorship classification

M (Moderate battle violence, moderate coarse language)

Surveillance time

92 minutes (1:32 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 20 April 2006
DVD rental: 9 April 2008
DVD retail: 9 April 2008

Cinema surveillance images

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